Arsenal legend Ian Wright says Lisandro Martinez possesses ‘defensive quality’ that has not been seen at Manchester United in recent years.
Martinez, who moved to Old Trafford in a £57m move from Ajax last summer, produced another superb display to help the Red Devils beat West Ham 1-0 on Sunday.
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Concerns were raised about Martinez’s height prior to his arrival at the club but he has established himself as a vital member of Erik ten Hag’s squad, starting all 12 of United’s Premier League games this campaign.
Marcus Rashford’s 100th United goal put the home side in front against the Hammers and Ten Hag’s side resisted the late pressure from West Ham to secure the maximum points and move to fifth in the Premier League.
David de Gea was at his best to deny West Ham an equaliser but former Arsenal and England player Wright reserved praise for Martinez, who partnered Harry Maguire in the heart of United’s defence.
‘He’s got defensive quality that I haven’t seen at Manchester United for a while,’ Wright said on Premier League productions.
‘Not only his positioning but he passes the ball through the lines. He’s exactly what they’ve needed. Someone that doesn’t mess about, there’s no thrills with him it’s just bang, good challenges.
‘He’s been a really, really good signing. I didn’t think he was going to be as good as he’s been.’
Former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves agreed with Wright’s assessment and added: ‘He’s added so much to the team. He’s given them so much.
‘His performance in this game had a big impact on Harry Maguire as well. There were so many positives for United today but defensively Martinez was fantastic. Erik ten Hag will be really pleased.’
Ten Hag, who like Martinez joined United from Ajax last summer, hailed United’s ‘winning spirit’ as they overcame West Ham to secure their seventh Premier League win of the season.
‘In this team it is a big attitude and winning spirit,’ he said. ‘You see that, the start of the season not that good but improving a lot.
‘We have to keep that process going. The fans also like it. You see developing a bond between the fans and the team, that is good.’
On Rashford’s milestone, Ten Hag added: ‘It is a great performance. It is fantastic and fantastic for Manchester United. They have a great academy and a great history with the academy.
‘The player on the 85th anniversary of always having a youth player in the squad or on the pitch and Marcus Rashford I think he is representing that fact and scores a brilliant goal.
‘It was a great header, the day before his birthday, for his 100th goal is a real milestone.’